America’s fragile domestic infrastructure threatens her energy security at least as much as dependence on oil from the Middle East. Replacing oil from that region with even more vulnerable domestic systems would therefore decrease energy security.
Extraordinarily concentrated energy flows invite and reward devastating attack. In our 1982 Pentagon study Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security, we found that a handful of people could shut down three-quarters of the oil and gas supplies to the Eastern states (without leaving Louisiana), cut the power to any major city, or kill millions by crashing an airplane into a nuclear power plant. All of that remains true today. Expanding such centralized and vulnerable energy systems would threaten our national security.
Fundamentally, energy security is less about foreign vs. domestic sources, or a shortage of giant energy facilities, than about the basic architecture of the energy infrastructure. A system is secure not because it’s American or big, but because it’s designed to make large-scale failures impossible and local failures... Read more